Updated: May 27, 2020
Two weeks ago, I created a post on Instagram that outlined some of the main signs of hormone imbalance. I was shocked to see just how many people commented on the post that were experiencing almost ALL of these on a daily basis!
One of the #AENpeeps asked me why so many people are experiencing hormone imbalance. Simple answer: our environment is setting us up to fail.
Remember, our hormones aren't the problem. Hormones are always responding to our environment in our best interest. For example, if you have chronically high cortisol levels, this isn't a malfunction of your hormones. This is your body responding to the physical, emotional or chemical stress in your life. (P.S. low cortisol levels is often caused by a period of HIGH cortisol levels. It seems counterintuitive, but this can be due to your adrenals becoming "fatigued" and being unable to produce cortisol at the amounts it used to.)
If you're interested in learning more about the causes of hormone imbalance, I highly recommend you check out the 7 part Natural Hormone Balancing Series HERE (and it's 100% free!!).
With all this in mind, you may be wondering if YOU are experiencing hormone imbalance, too. Today, I'm breaking down 9 of the common (yet often misunderstood) signs that your hormones may be out of whack.
#1. You're tired/you have difficulties staying asleep.
Low melatonin is a chronic issue that many Americans are experiencing. That's why the most popular article on my website is all about melatonin supplements (check it out HERE). Low melatonin means your body is never able to fully receive that deep, restorative sleep. You may fall asleep, you may even stay asleep. But if you wake up feeling tired the next day, then your body isn't producing enough melatonin to reach those deep sleep levels.
Learn how to naturally boost your melatonin HERE.
#2. You're gaining weight around the belly.
This is a classic high cortisol (stress hormone) sign. One of cortisol's main jobs is to increase your blood glucose level so that you have energy sent to your muscles in order to run away from whatever threat it thinks you're experiencing. However, when you don't utilize this energy to sprint from a tiger, your body immediately stores it - and it stores it specifically around the belly.
#3. You've lost your period or it's irregular.
Female fertility is a complex issue. One majorly under-addressed aspect is natural hormone balance and stress. When your body has high cortisol, it shuts off blood flow from "non-vital organs". This includes your GI tract and fertility organs. The decrease in blood flow results in a decrease in vital nutrients your fertility organs need to maintain normal function. This can lead to increased risk of infertility and loss of period.
#4. You're anxious.
Anxiety is the perfect storm of many factors. One of them being hormone imbalance. Anxiety is the result of your body being in a state of fight-or-flight mode. This mode is triggered by cortisol production. Therefore, one cause of anxiety is high levels of cortisol.
#5. You crave sugar.
This is another one of those ones that very often gets overlooked because everyone craves sugar, so people think it's normal. But as you know, craving sugar is actually one of 3 signs that you haven't eaten enough (check out THIS vid for the other 2). Sugar cravings can be a sign of a few hormone imbalances: low melatonin (which results in poor sleep that leads to craving sugar the next day), high cortisol (stress hormone) and/or high ghrelin (hunger hormone).
Make an AMAZING low-sugar, fat burning smoothie for your breakfast HERE.
#6. You have mood swings.
When your cortisol and ghrelin are high - which results from eating too often/eating the wrong foods/getting poor sleep... the list goes on - this can lead to highs and lows in energy levels and therefore mood. One moment, you may feel energized and inspired due to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), but then as soon as your insulin (storing hormone) lowers your blood glucose levels, you feel hangry and irritable.
#7. You snack throughout the day.
High cortisol levels leads your body to have a highly variable blood glucose level. This unstable blood glucose level makes you crave/require food every few hours in order to ward of those hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) moments - see sign #8.
Psst... snacking also leads to bloating and issues such as SIBO. Get the deets HERE.
#8. You are often HANGRY.
Large variations in insulin (the sugar storing hormone) paired with high cortisol and poor sleep (which leads to high hunger hormone, ghrelin) causes your blood glucose levels to be ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. Insert hulk hanger level if you don't eat every few hours. (andddd then cue sign #7.)
#9. You can't get rid of breakouts.
This is often a sign of cortisol imbalance. Cortisol imbalance is linked to higher intakes of sugar and higher blood glucose levels in general. One of the main jobs of cortisol is to increase your blood glucose levels. This cascade of reactions leads to increased inflammation throughout the body, including increased breakouts.
Side story ~ I have a good friend who was working a very high stress job that was emotionally and physically taking a toll on her body. At the time, she was also experiencing cystic acne that no amounts of facials or dermatologist appointments could get rid of. Within two weeks of leaving her job and switching to one she loved, her acne completely vanished. This isn't to say that stress was the ONLY cause, but it was a major contributing factor.
Hormone balance is something that your body wants. It doesn't want to have high cortisol, low melatonin, high ghrelin or all over the place insulin. It WANTS to feel GOOD! All we have to do is remove the barriers and provide the tools it needs in order to get there.